27 December 2010 (Shanee/Matzah)|
Day #286, 5934 AM
What's the Point?
Only Yahweh Can Build It
One of the men who played an important rôle in my upbringing and for whom I have great respect for is my Uncle Peter who passed away many years ago. In many ways he was my second father when I was at boarding school overseas and my biological parents were thousands of miles away. He taught me philately, chess, wrestling, bee-keeping, an appreciation for the Scots (he himself being Scottish), a love of the highlands (though I never did like the damp, cold Scottish weather), ballroom dancing, botany, and such Scottish Calvinist/Presbyterian values as hard work, orderliness, honour and integrity.
Uncle Peter had a basic Christian faith though spoke little about it. He was cheerful but also very sober at the same time and carried within him deep and painful memories as a prisoner of war of the Japanese in the Second World War. Put to forced labour building the infamous 'Railway of Death' in Burma, he understood well what deprivation was as he watched comrades executed or die of starvation, disease and torture. Many are the stories he used to relate to me of those terrible war years which I have never forgotten. Like himself, his wife was interned by the enemy but she did not survive long after liberation from all her harrowing ordeals. So many died in those hell-hole camps...
When I dream about my Uncle Peter I know it is because I have deep questions to ask my mentor. In my dream yesterday I was standing on a high hill overlooking the jungle environment where my uncle had worked as a rubber planter in Malaya (now Malaysia) as I asked him this question: What's the point of building anything in this world when everything gets destroyed? That is the question I am asking everyone today.
I am sure that many of you, like myself, have experienced heart-wrenching losses and disappointments in life. Marriages, families, businesses, employment, wealth and health are under constant assault in this world. In fact I am convinced that there is not a single soul in this world who does not have some painful experience to relate. Life here is tough. Let's make no mistake about that. And it doesn't make any difference whether you are a believer or an unbeliever for just as the sun shines on the good and the evil, so adversity like a dark cloud descends on all at some time or another. There are no primrose paths down here. And Satan makes no distinction between believers and unbelievers because he's out to destroy everyone, including his followers. All people run the same gammut of challenges down here without exception, even those with wealth and power.
Equally true is the fact that, as someone once said, you have never looked another human being in the eye that God does not care about. And it is our indictment as sinners that we do not reach the same conclusion as He does for we most certainly do not see as He does, nor sympathise as He does, because we cannot understand as He does. Our perspective is very limited indeed. We all of us, to different degrees, suffer from spiritual tunnel vision. You see, normally we can't see much outside our own sphere of experience and tend to measure and judge others - whose experiences may be similar or otherwise - in terms of what we know or do not know. The older I get the more I realise how very, very little we actually know about anything. We think our world is the universe when it's just a small pinprick in it.
In truth, we are forced to walk by faith if we are to have any hope whatsoever of getting anywhere near reality - Yahweh's reality. There is no other way to connect to it. By faith we must not only adhere to His Rule of Law in the Torah but we must equally adhere to His specific will to us as individuals and as congregations. Has He not in the past led us to tear down the false beliefs and practices that we have followed in the days of our ignorance and spiritual slavery? And has He also not warned us not to rebuild them?
You would think that was common sense and yet people do it all the time. Why? Because they build for the wrong motives.
"If I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor" (Gal.2:18, NKJV).
Let me illustrate with an observation. Many times I have noticed that when women convert to the religion, faith or denomination of their husband or potential husband, they often abandon that religion, faith or denomination if the marriage with their husband or relationship with a potential husband breaks up. One woman who wanted to marry me quickly converted to my faith but when the relationship did not work out, she returned overnight to her original belief system. Why? If the Truth is the Truth, why abandon it in this fashion? The reason is because the Truth of Yahweh was linked to a human being instead of standing independent of him. When the human being failed (man or woman), then his belief system 'failed' alongside it. Why? Because the two were not being distinguished. They were bound together.
The best marriages are those build on the right spiritual foundation. Someone once said that a single woman should be so lost in Yah'shua that the only way her potential husband could hope to find her is if He were seek for Yah'shua. Does that not make sound sense? Isn't that the way it should be? Doesn't this bespeak future stability? It means that if both have the right foundation IN Christ that they will inevitably be led to each other and be built on Him first of all. But if the man is lost in finding his perfect woman and the woman lost in finding the perfect man then they will never find each other for the pure and simple reason that only Yah'shua is always perfect and that the only perfection that we can ever possibly hope to find at any one moment in time is His perfection in the one fully yielded to Him.
We return to my original question: What's the point of building anything in this world when everything gets destroyed? Yahweh Himself gives the answer to that one:
Whatever it is we seek to build - a house, a marriage, a family, a business, a career, or a ministry - these things are in vain, however lawful generally-speaking, if Yahweh is not in charge and moving each of these things along in His way and in His timing. It is never enough to just obey the Torah. Torah-obedience is the second level of activity in our life. What is the first? Trusting, believing in, clinging and adhering to Yah'shua the Messiah in such a way that we are fully yielded to Him, able to hear Him and thus able to do His bidding in the details if life.
"Unless Yahweh builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless Yahweh watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat -- for He grants sleep to those He loves" (Ps.127:1-2, NIV).
Who is building your spiritual and temporal house? Who is building mine? If it is not Yahweh, it's a waste of time. The work will crumble. Now I am not implying that every disaster is necessarily a failure to adhere to Messiah and do His will. We must never over-generalise and so sin in making false judgments about others. But we do need to be aware of the possibility and to individually and privately seek His will with a view to correcting anything that may have been done with a wrong attitude.
There may be many reasons why our works are destroyed in this life - and goodness knows that is discouraging enough - but one of them might be because we are not allowing Yahweh to do the building but are attempting to do it in our own strength and according to our own expectations. This is a tough world but our enemies are not whom we usually think them to be:
After my dream about Uncle Peter I saw a vision. I saw a frozen moat surrounding a fortress. I trudged across the snow that had accumulated on the ice and approached the walls and could find no entrance in. As I looked up at the castle I saw a man staring with a hostile look at me through an ice-encrusted window. I recognised the man, a believer, who has since died. His history was filled with failure, betrayal, bitterness and anger. His wife played the whore and literally sold her services to other men, finally divorcing him and taking their four children and home. He lost everything. He lived alone for most of his life thereafter, working hard and confronting the bitter realities and unfairness of life. The anger I saw in the vision is the anger he took with him to the grave. I do not judge him for I know the hell he went through, even being falsely accused of a crime and taken to court. And though he was acquitted, his reputation was thereafter stained at a time when reputation meant more than it does today. I have since seen him in the world of spirits happy and free, something he never fully knew in this life. And I cannot help but wonder how things might have been if he had done things differently.
"We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph.6:12, NKJV).
I do not know how my uncle coped with his pain and loss the of his young wife. He was strict but I think that was cultural more than something being rooted in anger. I know he hated the Japanese for what they did to him. He remarried and did live a productive life. His home in the Sussex countryside was like a haven for me and I am forever grateful for it. We need havens. I have never had a counsellor whom I could look up to since him, one who was constant and reliable. I have had had many who abandoned me and sometimes turned traitor so that is why my uncle appears as he does in dreams from time to time.
He did not, I should add, answer my question, but the fact that I was standing on that hill - which I know now represented Christ - enabled me to find it. The answer is that only if Yahweh builds is it worth it for only what He builds is forever.